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James Kennedy (chemistry spokesperson)

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James Kennedy
James Kennedy at a Sincerely, Chemicals event in Guangzhou, 2018.jpg James Kennedy at a Sincerely, Chemicals event in Guangzhou, 2018.jpg
James Kennedy at a Sincerely, Chemicals event in Guangzhou, 2018
BornJames Michael Kennedy
(1988-04-21) April 21, 1988 (age 32)
Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom
🏡 ResidenceAustralia
🏳️ NationalityBritish, Australian
Other names
💼 Occupation

💵 Salary :

James Kennedy (born April 21, 1988) is a British-born author and chemistry spokesperson. Kennedy is a chemistry teacher in Australia who created the All-Natural Banana poster series and founded the Sincerely, Chemicals chemistry outreach initiative in 2017, which runs live workshops with journalists and healthcare practitioners that aim to improve chemistry communications between experts and the public. Kennedy contributes to magazines[1], television and radio interviews[2] to talk about chemistry-related topics with the aim of improving public perceptions of chemistry.[3][4][5] He hosts an educational YouTube channel called Sincerely, Chemicals.

Early life[edit]

Kennedy was born in Weymouth, Dorset. After attending The Royal Latin School in Buckinghamshire and Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron in Ceredigion, where he achieved four A-grades at A-level in 2006,[6] Kennedy entered the University of Cambridge to study the Natural Sciences Tripos in 2007. During his time as a bachelor's student, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Cambridge chapter of the US-based peer-reviewed undergraduate journal, The Science in Society Review, published quarterly by The Triple Helix.[7][8] His editorials included "Worker Bees of the World, Unite!".[8] He organised science outreach events such as the "GM Policy in Developing Regions: Yielding Much?" panel debate in January 2010[9] and the "Special Relativity without Length Contractions or Time Dilations" lecture in May 2010.[10] He earned his Masters of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge in Natural Sciences in 2014.



Kennedy joined Peking University International High School as an instructor in the International Division in 2010.[11] His role was to tutor reading and writing skills to grade 10 students in preparation for studying bachelor's degrees in the United States. In 2013, he completed his Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) at Monash University and joined Haileybury in Melbourne, where he served as International Exchange Coordinator. In 2017, Kennedy assumed the role of Director of Teaching and Learning at Haileybury International School in Tianjin.[12][13][14]

Communicating science[edit]

Outreach events[edit]

Kennedy has contributed to the Darwin Festival, Cambridge University's 800th Anniversary Festival and the Cheltenham Science Festival as well as hosting science outreach events for The Triple Helix.

The All-Natural Banana[edit]

Ingredients of an All-Natural Banana poster
Ingredients of an All-Natural Banana poster

In December 2013, Kennedy created the Ingredients of an All-Natural Banana poster as an introductory lecture slide for his organic chemistry students. He told Gizmodo's io9 in an interview:

"I want to erode the fear that many people have of 'chemicals',' and demonstrate that nature evolves compounds, mechanisms and structures far more complicated and unpredictable than anything we can produce in the lab"[15]

The poster became the second-most popular post of all time on Reddit Chemistry. Media outlets such as Forbes[16], The New York Times[17], Wyborcza[18] and El País[19] and some tabloid newspapers[20] ran stories about the banana poster and its eleven sequels. The ingredients posters have appeared in books[21] and academic journal articles.[22][23] The designs inspired a spin-off clothing label, James Kennedy Clothing.[24]

Sincerely, Chemicals[edit]

James Kennedy speaking at a Sincerely, Chemicals event in Guangzhou, China in August 2018
James Kennedy speaking at a Sincerely, Chemicals event in Guangzhou, China in August 2018

Kennedy founded the Sincerely, Chemicals outreach initiative in 2017, which aims to "improve the public's perception of the chemistry and chemicals that improve our lives". Sincerely, Chemicals debunks myths about chemical ingredients on its YouTube channel. Kennedy's Sincerely, Chemicals workshops teach journalists and healthcare workers how to tackle chemophobia effectively to their readers and patients.[25]


After co-founding the Cambridge Socialists political party in 2010, Kennedy subsequently left that party and ran for election as the Green Party candidate to Cambridge City Council instead. He came third in his area, winning 18.0% of the electoral vote.[26] He has since been politically inactive.



  1. "'Chemophobia' is irrational, harmful – and hard to break – James Kennedy | Aeon Ideas". Aeon. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  2. "Chemophobia: How We Became Afraid of Chemicals and What to Do About It - American Chemical Society". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  3. "What It Would Look Like If Your Banana Came With An Ingredient List". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  4. "A man made a genius ingredient label for popular fruits and revealed why the term 'chemical-free' is meaningless". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  5. Novak, Matt. "All-Natural Bananas Are Filled With Chemicals". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  6. "A level students celebrate". Tivyside Advertiser. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  7. Kennedy, James (Spring 2009). "Conversations with Cambridge Nobel Laureates" (PDF). The Science in Society Review. The Triple Helix. 800th Anniversary Edition: 8–11.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Molloy, Jenny. "Inside TTH". The Science in Society Review: 2.
  9. "talks.cam : "GM Policy in Developing Regions: Yielding Much?"". talks.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  10. "talks.cam : Special Relativity without Length Contractions or Time Dilations". talks.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  11. "In mid 2010 he returned to Peking University High School dedicated to bringing". www.coursehero.com. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  12. "【天津黑利伯瑞国际学校全体大会】"从1到N,我们准备好了吗?"天津黑利伯瑞国际学校2017-2018学年度第二学期全体教职员工工作部署大会". www.ssweducation.com. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  13. "【德育管理】黑利伯瑞各学部德育活动成就理想教育~~ - 雪花新闻". 雪花新闻 (in 中文). 2018-06-21. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  14. "天津黑利伯瑞国际学校2018春季国际教育展示交流会圆满落幕!". m.liuxue114.com (in 中文). Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  15. Dvorsky, George. "What if natural products came with a list of ingredients?". io9. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  16. Szczerba, Robert J. "Ingredients Of 'Nature's Perfect Foods' Will Terrify You". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  17. Revkin, Andrew C. "Bananas are Chemicals, Too". New York Times Dot Earth Blog. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  18. Rolecki, Michał (January 25, 2014). "Myślisz, że w twoim jedzeniu nie ma chemii? Mylisz się" [Do you think that there is no chemistry in your food? You're wrong]. wyborcza.pl (in polski). Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  19. País, Ediciones El (2014-01-30). "Alimentos 100% naturales llenos de química". El Comidista (in español). Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  20. Spector, Dina (2014-01-21). "What Your Banana Would Look Like If It Came With An Ingredient List". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  21. Payn, Michele (2017-03-20). Food Truths from Farm to Table: 25 Surprising Ways to Shop & amp;Eat Without Guilt. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781440849985. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  22. Selinger, Ben; Barrow, Russell (2017-06-01). Chemistry in the Marketplace. Csiro Publishing. ISBN 9781486303342. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  23. Evans, Bonnie (2014-04-01). "Book review: An Alternative History of Hyperactivity: Food Additives and the Feingold Diet". History of the Human Sciences. 27 (2): 136–141. doi:10.1177/0952695114521356. ISSN 0952-6951.
  24. "CLASSICS - jameskennedyclothing - Fruit Ingredients T-Shirts and More". jameskennedymonash.secure-decoration.com. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  25. Arunkumar, Rajni (2017-07-17). "Bursting the Bubble: Are Chemicals Bad For Your Baby?". First Moms' Club. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  26. "Cambridge City Council Elections - Castle Ward". www.cambridgeelections.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  27. Kennedy, James (2018). Fighting Chemophobia: A survival guide against marketers who capitalise on our innate fear of chemicals for financial and political gain. London, UK: James Kennedy Publishing. ISBN 978-1987582581. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

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